Rivendell Physical Education

Nutrition Facts

You are what you eat, or so they say. We finished up the first semester with a unit on nutrition. The emphasis was on understanding what is in your food, and how to make reasonable choices. No particular food is “bad” or “good”, but we want to choose foods that have a good balance of nutrients to keep us going. For preschool and younger kids, it can be as simple as “eat a rainbow”: having a colorful plate, with bright green, red, orange, yellow, purple brown and white will include lots of nutritious food. Middle and Older Kids learn more about food groups, vitamins and minerals, and how to read labels to make informed choices.

Flying the Flags

We have moved from soccer to rubgy and now on to American football. Preschool and Younger Kids are learning the basic skills like kicking, running and throwing used in the various codes of football. Middle and Older Kids have been learning about how and why rules changed for enjoyment, excitement, fairness, and, yes, safety.

People think of rugby and American football as rough, physical sports. They always have been, and at older and higher levels of play, they certainly are. Here at Rivendell, though, safety is paramount, so we play flag versions of both sports. Players are downed by having their flag belt pulled, and opponents must stay on their feet and use care when tackling (running into, pushing or grabbing a player while trying to pull a flag is a penalty).

Dodging and weaving skills are important for all kinds of sports and activities, not just physical agility but vision and awareness of space to avoid collisions. All classes from preschool up get practice with this, starting with basic tag games and progressing to the flag football and flag rugby enjoyed by the Older and Middle Kids.

The objective is to learn the skills, rules, and history of the games—some of the most popular sports in the world—in a safe and fun way.

Indoor Activity

Bad weather often forces us inside (I’m the only teacher who has to change their lesson plan based on the forecast!).

We have to be creative inside. Middle and Older kids were supposed to learn how to do a rugby scrummage (or scrum). We at least got to practice it indoors. The front line players have to bind together with their arms, then engage with the opponent’s line. One team puts the ball into the scrum, which is “hooked” out by the feet.

In actual rubgy, the two teams push mightily against each other to get an advantage and either team can get the ball. As you might imagine, the scrum can be quite a rough place. We use an uncontested scrum, where there is no pushing, and only the team that puts the ball in can hook it out.

Another bad-weather activity is bean-bag horseshoes. This works on throwing skills. Bean bags tossed that land completely inside the hoop for a “ringer” are worth three points, touching the hoop is worth two, and the bean bag outside but closest to the hoop gets one point.

It’s All Football

It’s time for one of my favorite units: the history of football. We go back in time over 150 years to the origins of the game of football in England, and over the years and across continents morphed into several different games: Association Football (also known as soccer), Rugby Football and American football. We’ll play all three sports as they were played in different eras from the mid-1800s to today, with the changes in rules as we go—imagine being able to knock down the ball with your hands in soccer, or no forward passes in American football. For rugby and American football we use flag belts.

We start with soccer, then rubgy, then finally American football. During the first two games, a few of the kids who like playing American football always ask, “Are we going to play football [meaning American football] today?” My answer? “It’s all football!”

Throwing Away

One of the first skills we’re focusing on this fall is throwing. We’ve practiced overhand and underhand with bean bags, with hoops as targets. Younger, Middle and Older Kids got to practice different throws with flying discs and play games like Ultimate, schtick, double disc court, and of course, disc golf.

Running and Jumping and Throwing, oh my!

Welcome back for another school year! We have some exciting things planned for PE. In addition to getting ready for the Fun Run, we’ll be learning about and playing the following games and activities:

  • Flying Discs: Ultimate, disc golf and more.
  • The History of Football: How the “mob” game of 200 years ago turned into soccer, rugby and American football. We’ll play all three sports, exploring the changes in rules, differences and similarities over the past two centuries!
  • Yoga: Not just poses but fun games as well.
  • Nutrition: You really are what you eat.
  • Track and Field: Running, jumping, and throwing, and Older Kids get the chance to participate in the Poudre Schools district track meet if they want.
  • And as always, we’ll emphasize teamwork and good sportsmanship, fundamental athletic techniques, and for PS and YK, concepts of personal space and various types of locomotion.

Looking forward to lots of fun and games.

District Track Meet

Congrats to all our Rivendell kids who participated in the PSD district track meet. They got a chance to compete against kids from all over Fort Collins, and we had some great results.

Stopping and Going

As much as track events are about going as fast as you can, in many sports the opposite is just as important: stopping! Along with changing direction, agility is a key skill and can be practiced. After Older and Middle Kids learned some of the key points of slowing and changing direction (shorten steps, get low, slight backward lean), we practiced by playing tic-tac-toe. What?! Just watch:

We also learned another slightly unusual way of going: racewalking. There are Olympic racewalking events and world championships. Racewalking is characterized by having at least one foot on the ground at all times. Going fast requires and unusual gait, and works muscles that don’t get used that often. Find out more:

Track and Field Time

After spring break we go into our unit on track and field. The Older Kids learn about the various events to prepare for the Poudre School District elementary track meet later in the spring. Middle and Younger Kids have their own mini-track meets in their class right here at school. We go over rules and technique for various events. For track, we run 50m, 75m and 100m sprints as well as relay races. Field events are the long jump, triple jump, softball throw, and even the shot put (using a 6-pound shot)!

Particularly with individual events, we emphasize doing your best—competing against yourself or the clock, more than other competitors. Imagine you go to the Olympics, run your race, and set a new personal record time… but only finish 6th. Success or failure? By my book, definitely a success. You give it your all, and trophies, ribbons and awards may come after that as a bonus.


No, we’re not learning our ABC’s (at least in PE). We’re on our current PE unit:


We pull out all the old favorites for the next few weeks, using the skills we’ve worked on earlier in the year. Capture the flag, dodgeball, scooter soccer, jump the shot, and the big parachute are just a few of the activities we’ll be playing. Fun (and fitness) for everyone!